Sunday, 25 January 2015

My little Korean secret

Meet Jung Da Yeon, age 48.
Mother of 2, she transformed herself from sedentary housewife to, well, think up your own adjective. 
Along the way, she became a fitness and diet guru, selling a great many books and DVDs in her native Korea and beyond. 
Some of her workouts just happen to also be a good mixture of cross-training, free weights and core work. 
She was introduced to me by my wife A-Chang. She does her workouts a few times a week. On mondays I join in for a bit of novel endurance strength training. 

Nothing beats running, however cross training and resistance work are a vital part of any exercise program. There are options out there that can both challenge and amuse. 
So I proudly announce that on monday nights I allow myself a sprinkle of fabulous with Jung Da Yeon and her entourage of dancing girls. & A Chang, best of all. 

Friday, 9 January 2015

I'm on TV I'm on TV

15 seconds of anonymous fame was probably not quite what Andy Warhol had in mind. 
When the weather is extremely cold I have seen TV cameras generally filming runners defying the temperature. 
In Calgary last Tuesday, shortly after attempting my final 800m interval I saw a cameraman and reporter asking runners if they had time to chat. 
Thus did I make the main headline of CTV's 6 o'clock news. "Shall I take off my goggles?" "It's ok to leave them on," I was told. The Walmart Ninja look is in apparently. It also allowed them to edit my voice without touching the film.
Why was I running today, I was asked. I just love running, I said. The part that got me in the headlines was my answer to the follow-up question "even when it's freezing cold with blowing snow?" I've seen my response phrased in quite a few ways on motivational pictures on various running sites: "If you wait for perfect weather, it'll never happen, especially in Calgary." 
Even better was the next runner, without goggles, saying the weather was "just perfect". Trust a couple of runners to lighten the mood and make it all seem better.
The few in front of me didn't stop.  
The coverage also filmed the 2 Jeeps that do the heavy snow clearing on the pathways.
Free gait analysis too. Needs work. My goggles steamed up shortly after and I had to take them off. 
Later on twitter I deemed it good form to say hi to the reporter Rylee Carlson. She must've checked shortly after telling viewers to dress appropriately " goggles or not." Me and "perfect" were the only ones to stop hence her gratitude. 
I can forgive use of the "j-word" seeing how much of a kick I got out of it. It was a fun interlude in early January training, a time when I usually feel slow and heavy. 

For the news story:

Wednesday, 7 January 2015

I am a ForeRunner

He's not a runner.
He is.
We all got started somehow. For me, as with probably quite a few runners out there, it began when I came to a point where I had to make a decision:
Do I decide to continue in poor and deteriorating health, or do I go down a road full of hard work and challenges that gradually leads to a permanent change in fitness and physical state?
It seemed to me that it would be purely a matter of loosing weight and gaining energy. 
What has surprised me since January 2007 have been the other changes for the better: improved reflexes, better concentration and a sharper mind. A lighter mood even in stressful situations, greater calmness, inner peace and loss of a slightly dead expression in the eyes. A heightened sense of ambition, adventure, knowledge of self and willingness to push boundaries. 
Is it any wonder I love running? The gift that keeps on giving all day, every day. It came into the picture in 2008, at least in the summer. Since 2009, I've been running in all weathers. 
Calgary's Half Marathon in 2009 was my first ever race. Get me more of this, I thought. My first full marathon came the following year, and I've alternated every year since. For the 7th year in a row, I'll be towing the line at the Calgary Marathon Weekend. Only this time, I'll be doing the 50k Ultra, hopefully in under 4 hours ("Studio 54"). 
Calgary and running for me are one and the same thing. It will be a joy to share it all as a ForeRunner. I race with a camera (below, during "Run the Runway" for example) and will as ever make a short film of the race (awards pending). Waves, hi-5s and the guy dressed as Darth Vader at last year's finish all welcome on race day.
Whether in training, at the start or at the finish line, I will give it everything, for the guys on left as well as the guys on the right.